Friday, June 20, 2014

Shin Splints Most Common In New Runners

Picture by Anne Sophie from Flickr
Latest published  research indicates that shin pain is the most common complaint among new runners. Shin splints or stress fractures is also our most popular article in this blog with over 200 comments and counting.

The researchers studied 933 new runners for a year to see how many were injured, what injuries they had and how long it took before they resumed running. They were considered new runners if they haven't run more than 10 kilometres the previous year. The runners were considered injured if they had running induced pain in their legs or lower back that prevented them from training (distance, duration, pace or frequency) for at least a week.

254 runners were injured during their first year of running. 15% of this injured runners had medial tibial stress syndrome (or shin splints), 10% had knee pain, 7% injured their Achilles tendons while 5% hurt their plantar fascia or soleus (deep calf muscle).

Stress fractures were relatively rare, probably because the new runners' mileage in their first year were not high enough. 75% of the injuries happened during the runner's first 201 kilometres.

Time to heal varied widely amongst the injured runners.Those who hurt their calf resumed training after 30 to 40 days, while those with shin pain took an average of 72 days to fully recover. The worst were those who had plantar fasciitis, it took an average of 159 days to recover.

Majority of the 254 injured runners recovered fully (220) by the end of the year long study. Only 34 remained injured.

The researchers concluded that their findings emphasized the importance of the need for new runners to be mindful of shin splints as it is most common injury in their study. Even among recreational and elite runners, shin splints was the most common injury with an incidence of 13-20% (Lopes et al 2012).

Wanna run pain free? Have a read here.


Lopes AD, Hespanhol Junior LC et al (2012). What Are The Main Running-related Musculoskeletal Injuries? A Systematic Review. Sports Med 42: 891-905.

Nielsen RO et al (2014). A Prosepective Study On Time To Recovery In 254 Injured Novice Runners. PLOS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.099877.

Even Kobe has shin pain. (Picture from Flickr)

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